Good Sam Super Brand

Good Sam Super Directory: Super Brand!

I’m of two minds on the advertising opportunities offered by Good Sam for the coming 2013 publication year. I love the direction taken with the printed directory, but I hate the online stuff. I’m advising my clients to stay in the print book, but to hold back on the digital bundles (priced from $1,495 to $5,995!!!)

This is the inaugural year of the new Good Sam “Super Directory” which is really a combination of two major print-and-web directories–currently published as Trailer Life Directory or Woodall’s Campground Directory. The widely expected consolidation of the two books into one was a natural outcome of the economic downturn and the rise of the internet.

Good Sam a Good Name
It was nothing less than a stroke of brilliance to consolidate the books under the Good Sam brand name. The parent company, The Affinity Group, was faltering financially and had no brand awareness with consumers. While the names Trailer Life and Woodall’s each had a consumer following, neither brand name was as strong or broadly recognized as the Good Sam Club, which has it’s roots in the post WWII expansion of the recreational vehicle craze. Of course Affinity managers had to make hard choices as they cut back spending and eliminated the equivalent of one whole company. A solomon’s choice to choose NEITHER the TL or the WD names as the new brand. The Good Sam smiley-man is probably the most recognizable icon in the camping industry—other than the KOA teepee icon.

The new book will be titled the Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory. The sales representatives tell me the expected print run for this first year is 470,000 books. The directory books are for sale in retail outlets, promoted to Good Sam Club members, and will be distributed to AAA auto club members, too. Thus continuing the partnership started last year between AAA and Woodall’s. The audience reached will be a substantially targeted group of RV travel consumers. Although the new display ad rates are about 20% higher than either of last year’s books (TL or WD), the increased circulation alone justifies the price increase for a consolidated directory.

I am a fan of the Good Sam ‘super directory’ at least for now. Important to note that while I support the decision to advertise in the printed guide, it is essential to understand that this is not the only place you can advertise to promote a campground, so the budget you allocate to the GS Super Directory should be only a percent of your overall program.

Next: Good Sam lost in [cyber] space?